Burglary under Mississippi law is defined as breaking and entering into a dwelling house, or the inner door of such house, with the intent to commit a crime.  Burglary is a felony punishable from 3-25 years, although burglary “under circumstances likely to terrorize any person who is actually occupying the house at the time of the criminal invasion of the premises” is a minimum 10 years.  This second section deals with home invasions, and reflects the belief that such crimes should carry greater penalties.  Dwelling house obviously means home, apartment, etc., but can also include every building joined to, immediately connected with, or being part of the dwelling house.

It is also a crime to break out of a dwelling house, whether through the door or any other part (such as the window).  This is punishable up to 10 years.  Additionally, it is a crime to break the inner door of a house by a person who is lawfully inside that house, with the intent to commit a crime.  This type of burglary might be seen in instances of domestic assault, and is punishable up to 10 years.

Yet another type of burglary in Mississippi involves non-residential areas.  This can include a shop, store, booth, tent, warehouse, or other building or private room or office therein, water vessel, commercial or pleasure craft, ship, steamboat, flatboat, railroad car, automobile, truck or trailer in which any goods, merchandise, equipment or valuable thing shall be kept for use, sale, deposit, or transportation, with intent to steal therein, or to commit any felony.  Essentially, then, this law punishes offenders who break into any non-residential building (such as a store or warehouse) or a car with the intent to steal.  It can also include buildings located on the property of houses, such as storage sheds.  This type of burglary is punishable up to seven years, except that in the case of burglary of a church or other place of worship, the punishment is up to 14 years.

While an alternative sentence such as probation may be available for a burglary offender, he or she cannot have a conviction removed from his/her record.  Mississippi felony expungements are allowed for only a handful of offenses–six, to be exact–and burglary is not one of them.  If you find yourself charged with this crime and hope to have it off your record, you need to contact an experienced Mississippi criminal defense lawyer to see what options you have.  If you want to maintain your innocence you must take the case to trial, but if the state has a solid case you should look into trying to reduce the charge so it can come off your record.  This may not be possible depending on the facts.  But if such an option is possible, it may require supervised probation, and payment of restitution and a fine. 

Patrick Stegall is a Southaven criminal defense lawyer who represents people in all types of crimes, including burglary.  If you have been charged with a crime in North Mississippi and need representation, please contact Mr. Stegall at (901) 205-9894 or by email at pstegall@stegall-law.com.

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